August – October 2011 – Too many injuries.
It was a brilliant start to the season for West Brom as they won 3 of their opening 4 games, starting their campaign in both the Premier League and the League Cup. The season started off with a home game against newly promoted QPR – a fantastic opening day performance gave West Brom a 3-0 win, with Grant Holt scoring on his debut. Next up was an away trip to Wigan Athletic, one of the favourites for promotion – West Brom went 2-0 up through a Shane Long double, but despite a Wigan goal West Brom held out for another win. Next up was L1 side Wycombe Wanderers in the League Cup 2nd Round – Liam Ridgewell had given West Brom an early lead, but Wycome forced ET with a late equaliser – but it was Jerome Thomas who set up sub Shane Long for a tap in equaliser to give West Brom a 2-1 win. The final game of the month was at home to Manchester United and despite going a goal behind early on courtesy of Nani, West Brom equalised after an excellent finish from Grant Holt. But all their hard work was undone as Berbatov’s shot was saved by Foster, who pushed it onto the shin of captain Olsson – Steven Reid raced to clear the ball off the line but instead got in the way of Foster and kicked the ball into his own net, a calamitous own goal.
After a wonderful opening month West Brom were brought crashing back down to earth as they claimed just one point in the league. We started off away to Blackburn Rovers – Charlie Austin gave West Brom the lead with an excellent finish on his debut, but a double from Junior Hoilett, including a penalty, gave Blackburn the lead. But just before HT Grant Holt fired in an equaliser, giving West Brom a point – but, with Shane Long injured on international duty days before the game, Grant Holt picked up an injury leaving out for a month, meaning Charlie Austin was the only striker left. Next up was a trip to Everton – a really poor performance and all credit to Everton as goals from Jelavic and Osman gave them a deserved 2-0 win. We then had to go to Leicester City in the League Cup 3rd Round, a potentially tricky game – and it proved to be as Jermaine Beckford gave Leicester a 2-0 lead, including a penalty. But just before HT, Graeme Dorrans pulled a goal back with a fine strike for his first of the season, and Jerome Thomas grabbed an equaliser after an hour to give West Brom ET. But they couldn’t score and neither could Leicester, but West Brom went on to win 3-2 on penalties, Jerome Thomas scoring the final one. The final game of the month was at home to Arsenal – and with myself having to revert to a 4-5-1 formation because of all my strikers injuries, Robin van Persie grabbed a hattrick and Koscielny scored his first of the season to give Arsenal a 4-0 win.
It was a much better month for West Brom as they pulled off a shock win at Stamford Bridge in the League Cup. The month started off with a tough away game at Fulham, and we played very well to get a decent point, a 0-0 draw. Next up was Newcastle at home, and Newcastle were odds on to win, but a fantastic performance by the Baggies saw Shane Long score on his return, and Odemwingie score his first goal of the season to give West Brom a 2-1 win. We then had to go to Norwich City and I was expecting us to get a point – but a really poor performance and an early goal by Simeon Jackson gave Norwich all 3 points. We then had Chelsea away in the League Cup 4th Round – Chelsea started a much changed side but did include the likes of Sturridge and Merieles, whilst I decided to start my first team as I really want us to win a domestic cup. Shane Long gave West Brom a shock lead with an excellent finish from the edge of the area, but Lukaku equalised for Chelsea. But with 15 mins left Grant Holt’s strike was saved by Hilario – only for the rebound to fall straight to Long’s feet, who had a simple tap in to send West Brom into the League Cup Quarter Final. The final game of the month was a home game against Stoke City and we were expected to win – but an awful performance saw us easily beaten 2-1 by Stoke City, Peter Whittingham with the winner.
So at the end of that month I wasn’t entirely pleased but I was quite happy – we sit 13th, but I’m worried as several teams below us have 2 games in hand over us. But now that I have all 4 of my strikers available again I’m much more confident;
Player Stats from the Premier League
As you can see West Brom don’t quite have the same influence on the PL as Twente did on the Eredivisie, but one player is in there – Shane Long is the joint 5th highest goalscorer with 5 goals.
So that’s in for this post – next post will cover November all the way into the new year and January, including the January transfer window.